Gator Connect to launch in October

Gator Connect, a new tool created by Career Education and Alumni Affairs, will replace and combine the functions of Gator Locator and the ACCEL Job Database. The database will be released in mid-October, according to Director of Alumni Engagement Keri Fadden.

Both the ACCEL database and Gator Locator stopped functioning during the summer of 2015 when servers malfunctioned. Allegheny College decided to use the Salesforce platform, a customer management system, to replace them. They hired ACF Solutions, a business management consultant, to help create Gator Connect.

Gator Connect takes advantage of Allegheny’s small but very strong network

— Keri Fadden

“The only downside to creating a completely new platform was that there was no stopgap to fill the roles of Gator Locator and the ACCEL database,” said Associate Director of Career Education Christina Moreschi, ’12.

Gator Connect allows Allegheny students to view job and internship postings and to immediately submit an application. Job postings are marked with a gator symbol if the poster is an Allegheny graduate.

Gator Connect is also available to faculty and staff to post research or on-campus job opportunities for students.

In addition, Gator Connect allows students to search the alumni database and connect to alumni in certain companies or fields. The site provides tools to graduates as well.

“Alumni want a way to find other alumni,” Fadden said.

Gator Connect allows alumni to search for fellow graduates, using search parameters such as name, major, class year and any sport or Greek affiliations.

“Gator Connect takes advantage of Allegheny’s small but very strong network,” Fadden said

Gator Connect will also allow alumni to volunteer for the college in a variety of ways. This includes working with admissions at college fairs all over the country, providing students opportunities to job shadow or coming back to Allegheny to speak.

Gator Connect allows alumni to connect back to Allegheny unlike past tools, according to Fadden.

“We want to remove the lines between students and alumni. From your first day at Allegheny, you become a part of this community,” Fadden said.

Jason Ramsey, associate director of Information Technology Services, hopes Gator Connect will improve Allegheny students’ experiences and make things simpler.

“It’s time to start interconnecting student [information]. Students should not have to input their name and box number every single time they fill out a form,” Ramsey said.

Career Education and Alumni Affairs co-hosted a Gator Day presentation on April 5, 2016, about Gator Connect. Students who attended were given a brief introduction to the website and received full access. These students were asked to give feedback and report any issues with the program.

Attendees found several minor issues with the site. For example, the keyword search function on the job and internship page was broken, meaning it is only possible to search from drop-down menus.

“Gator Connect was not mobile or tablet friendly, and we believe that many students rely on those platforms,” Moreschi said.

After the Gator Day presentation, Alumni Affairs and Career Education decided that Gator Connect’s release would be pushed back from its original release date in May to solve these issues.

“We only get one shot at user adoption, so it was worth the wait,” Fadden said.

Allegheny decided to work with a new company, Vertiba, to fix these issues. Jim Hotton, ’81, works at Vertiba and reached out to the college to offer assistance.

Allegheny has recently received an updated build of the site and is currently doing internal testing, according to Fadden. The expected release date is some time in mid-October.

“We wanted something that is just Allegheny. Salesforce is a very flexible programming tool,” Ramsey said.

Even after Gator Connect launches, the college will still work to improve it, according to Ramsey.

“This is just the beginning, Gator Connect will constantly be updated and adapted to students’ needs,” Ramsey said.